Candidate confidence and electoral appeal: An experimental study of the effect of nonverbal confidence on voter evaluations

Delia Dumitrescu (Lead Author), Elisabeth Gidengil, Dietlind Stolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nonverbal display of confidence is strongly associated with leadership and power. However, its importance for the persuasiveness of campaign messages has not been explored. How important is showing confidence for a political candidate’s ratings? How does confidence condition the effect of the quality of a candidate’s arguments? This article addresses these questions using an innovative experimental approach that makes it possible to better isolate the impact of the candidate’s nonverbal confidence and the quality of his message. While both of these aspects influence voters’ perceptions of the candidate’s electability and qualifications, the nonverbal dimension matters more when it comes to electability. This research contributes to the study of nonverbal communication in elections by expanding the focus of inquiry beyond the effect of pure emotions (happiness or anger) and facial traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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